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QVC Campaign Asks: 'iQdoU?’

Retail-shopping network QVC unveiled its first national marketing and advertising campaign in 21 years on Sept. 24, launching a new logo and explaining cryptic billboards and online teaser ads that began appearing at the beginning of this month.

The ads — which asked, “iQdoU?” — refer to the network’s new catchphrase, which means, “I shop QVC, do you?”

The network did market research during the last year, and executives were shocked to find that people “just don’t understand the brand” as much as QVC officials thought they did, according to senior vice president and chief marketing officer Jeff Charney.

Home shopping has moved beyond the customer perceptions of a destination for collectible figurines and cubic zirconia, he said, but viewers aren’t differentiating QVC from other television retailers.

BRAND-NAME PRODUCTS

QVC introduces 250 new products a week and showcases brand merchandise from fashion, personal care and jewelry names such as Bobbi Brown, Dana Buchman, Heidi Klum and Frederic Fekkai, but people aren’t familiar with all QVC brands, according to the research.

Brand confusion aside, consumers are patronizing the West Chester, Pa.-based channel, a subsidiary of Liberty Media. QVC reported net sales of $7 billion in 2006, $1 billion of which was generated through its related Web site, QVC.com. The company now records sales greater than traditional brick-and-mortar retailers such as Saks Fifth Avenue and Neiman Marcus combined, according to executives.

The cable network is now seen in 96% of cable homes, 25.3 million satellite-TV homes and in the United Kingdom, Germany and Japan.

QVC’s research was conducted by Ideo, a Palo Alto, Calif.-based design firm that did five months of “heavy, quantitative” study of QVC’s viewers, even going into their homes and eating dinner with them, Charney said.

“We always thought we were better, but customers grouped us along with the retail pack,” he said of the research.

What customers do like about the home-shopping experience is the thrill of opening the package once it arrives.

Capitalizing on that idea, QVC designed a new logo: a Q that resembles a ribbon, the tail of which may be the leading edge of the wrapping of a package.

Charney said the in-house campaign designers went through 146 proposed Q logos before choosing the new look, which also features the channel’s full name in the middle of the letter.

The inspiration was worker and consumer shorthand for the network: some call it “The Q.”

Teaser billboards, mostly covered but with the cryptic iQdoU phrase, were placed in three cities: in New York’s Times Square, on Sunset Boulevard in Los Angeles and in Philadelphia.

The billboards, along with upcoming print and television placements, are examples of “surgical spend,” Charney said. “Others may outspend us, but no one will out-create us,” he said.

TARGETING WOMEN

Ads will be placed to reach QVC’s core audience: women 35 and older with household incomes of $50,000 and greater. But the campaign and new logo were designed to resonate with all age groups, Charney said.

The initial commercial spots will highlight QVC’s brands, featuring product spokespeople such as Paula Deen and Carson Kressley. Also featured in the ads are vendors and viewers talking about what they love about the QVC experience. (To see one of the ads, go to www.multichannel.com and click on “Spotwatch” in the Video Showcase.)

The new “Q” is incorporated in the on-air look, and the shopping channel’s Web site is also being redesigned.

Later this year, the network will add a “social shopping” experience to its site, which is already popular with viewers for its product- and brand-based search functionality and its consumer-written reviews of most products.